Dave Eicher, editor of Astronomy magazine and science popularizer, brings you thoughts about astronomy, cosmology, nature, the hobby of astronomy, the sometimes disturbingly pseudoscientific culture we live in, and more.
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Come to the New Mexico Star Party this weekend!

Posted 6 days ago by David Eicher
On Saturday, April 29 — this weekend!!! — I’ll be joining Senior Editor Michael Bakich for a star party and series of talks in southwestern New Mexico. At America’s Darkest Sky Star Party, we’ll celebrate the best sky you can observe from in the Continental United States.  You can find out about the event and register here: http://darkskynewmexico.com/blog/index.php/2017/02/23/dark-sky-hosts-star-party/ Michael and I will each give two talks, on subjects f...
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Join us in 2 weeks for the New Mexico Star Party!

Posted 16 days ago by David Eicher
It’s just 2 weeks now to America’s Darkest Sky Star Party, where you can have the time of your life! It takes place in Lordsburg and Animas, New Mexico, Saturday, April 29, and is open to everyone who loves the night sky.  You can read a complete schedule and register right here: http://darkskynewmexico.com/blog/index.php/2017/02/23/dark-sky-hosts-star-party/ Astronomy Senior Editor Michael Bakich and I will be giving multiple talks at our facility in Lordsburg, in south...
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Visions of the Northeast Astronomy Forum 2017

Posted 16 days ago by David Eicher
I had a wonderful time last weekend meeting and talking with many of you through the Northeast Astronomy Forum 2017, at Rockland Community College, in Suffern, New York. The Rockland club and especially the driving force of Al Nagler and Tele Vue Optics should be commended again for pushing forward the nation’s best telescope show, now older than 25 years.  I was handicapped a bit this year by being hit with a cold the day before, and so as some of you saw, simply stood in a daze c...
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Dave Eicher on WVIZ-PBS ideastream: TRAPPIST-1, black holes, and more

Posted 16 days ago by David Eicher
Recently I had the privilege of addressing a crowd of science teachers in Cleveland at WVIZ-PBS ideastream’s Science + Mathematics Think-in event. While I was there, the team filmed me talking about a few subjects, and you can watch that here: http://www.ideastream.org/programs/newsdepth/spot-on-science-david-eicher On the station’s “Spot on Science” show. The interview covered the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system, observing the sky, black holes, the dangers of space, and ...
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Starmus IV Programme Announcement

Posted 18 days ago by David Eicher
Press Release: #Starmus IV FULL PROGRAMME ANNOUNCMENT: THE IMPRESSIVE LINEUP INCLUDES STEPHEN HAWKING AS KEYNOTE SPEAKER, 10 NOBEL LAUREATES, BUZZ ALDRIN, LARRY KING, OLIVER STONE AND BRIAN COX  Read the full programme @ www.starmus.com/programme2017/ Full Press Release below The #Starmus board consists of Stephen Hawking, Brian May, Peter Gabriel, Richard Dawkins, Alexei Leonov, Jill Tarter, Robert Williams, David Eicher, Jack Szostak and the festival’s founder, Gar...
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10 Reasons to Come to America's Darkest Sky Star Party

Posted 27 days ago by David Eicher
On Saturday, April 29, 2017, Dave Eicher and Michael Bakich will speak at a star party like no other.  America’s Darkest Sky Star Party will offer unbelievable views of numerous objects in the universe rom one of the greatest skies on the planet.  You can check out the details for the star party here: http://darkskynewmexico.com/blog/index.php/2017/02/23/dark-sky-hosts-star-party/ I want to share with you Michael Bakich’s blog, “10 Reasons to Come to America&rsq...
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Watch Dave Eicher, Amy Mainzer, Craig Bartlett Cleveland lectures

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
On March 9, WVIZ-PBS ideastream in Cleveland, Ohio, held a workshop for 220 Ohio teachers called the Science + Mathematics Think-in. Lots of fun activities took place that day, and several talks entertained the crowd. I was privileged to speak about “Does the Universe Really Care About Itself? Teaching Science in the 21st Century.” You can now watch this and other talks from that day online. My talk is available here: http://www.ideastream.org/education/keynote-presentation-does-t...
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In Cleveland with Ready Jet Go!

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
What a wonderful time I had in Cleveland a week ago at the WVIZ-PBS ideastream Science and Mathematics Think-in. Not only was I asked to give a talk, which was filmed for television (will let you know about watching it), but I was able to make two new friends who are very cool. Craig Bartlett is the creator and producer of Ready Jet Go!, the PBS kids’s program that teaches young children all about science. He is also the creator and producer of the Nickelodeon show Hey Arnold!, worked o...
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Starmus IV New Speaker's Announcement

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
PRESS RELEASE STARMUS IV NEW SPEAKER'S ANNOUNCMENT THE NEW LINEUP INCLUDES STEPHEN HAWKING WITH 10 NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS, BUZZ ALDRIN AND OLIVER STONE Starmus IV, hosted by NTNU, runs from 18th June to 23rd June in Trondheim, Norway, tickets available from www.starmus.com “Starmus is an important and very unique interdisciplinary festival of people working in different fields — astronomers, astronauts, cosmologists, physicists, philosophers, musicians, artists, biologists etc., who...
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David Eicher, Michael Bakich to speak at America's Darkest Sky Star Party

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Science enthusiasts, amateur astronomers, and those who love a dark night sky should set aside Saturday, April 29, 2017, and target Lordsburg and Animas, New Mexico. There, under one of the darkest night skies in North America, a unique star party will take place.  Astronomy Magazine Editor David Eicher and Senior Editor Michael Bakich will each present two talks, covering the latest discoveries about the universe, bizarre galaxies and nebulae, the coming total solar eclipse later this y...
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Check out "Night Sky with the Naked Eye" by Bob King

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Rarely has a book appeared that offers a lot of entertaining, instructive material for novice skygazers who want to learn the sky with their eyes alone. The current book, however, Night Sky with the Naked Eye: How to Find Planets, Constellations, Satellites and Other Night Sky Wonders Without a Telescope, is just such a book. The work is by Bob King, who goes by “Astro Bob,” and was recently published by Page Street Press (Salem, Massachusetts, 2016; 255 pp., paper, $22, ISBN 978&n...
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The strange life of Robert Burnham, Jr.

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
Many of you who are experienced amateur astronomers know intimately Burnham’s Celestial Handbook, the observing guide originally written in the 1960s by the curious astronomer Robert Burnham, Jr. (Not to be confused with Robert Burnham, the longtime editor at Astronomy magazine.)  The Handbook is still a mainstay of the libraries of many observers, a hodgepodge of observing data, tales and stories, photographs, poetry, and ephemera that introduced a whole generation to many deep-sk...
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Join Me in Cleveland for Science, Math, and More!

Posted one month ago by David Eicher
I’m delighted to say I’ll be speaking at the Science+Mathematics Think-in this week in Cleveland, Ohio. Hosted by WVIZ/PBS ideastream, the event will take place at the Idea Center at Playhouse Square, and will feature a keynote address by me at 9 a.m. I’ll speak on “Does the Universe Really Care About Itself? Teaching Astronomy in the 21st Century.” My presentation will be followed by NASA’s Amy Mainzer and Craig Bartlett, who will speak on “Around the...
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Astronomy Magazine unveils new online interactive Star Dome

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
ASTRONOMY MAGAZINE RELAUNCHES INTERACTIVE STAR DOME SKY MAP ON ASTRONOMY.COM Waukesha, Wisconsin, Feb. 8, 2017: The editors of Astronomy magazine, the world’s largest publication on the subject, have re-launched a wildly popular online feature, the interactive Star Dome sky map. The program allows users to look at the sky at any time and from any location on Earth, seeing what stars and planets are visible during any time of the night. The scale, orientation, and many other parameters ...
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New "5 Questions" Podcast with Alex Filippenko!

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
I’m proud to say that Astronomy Magazine has just commenced a new podcast — “5 Questions with David J. Eicher.” Every couple of weeks, I’ll be posing 5 Big Questions to a prominent astronomer, planetary scientist, or cosmologist, and the discussions will lead to some very interesting places.  I invite you to check out the first one, which is live now, and features the well-known UC-Berkeley astrophysicist Alex Filippenko. Alex describes his dark energy resea...
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Global leaders in planetary science announce Asteroid Day live hosted in Luxembourg in 2017!

Posted 2 months ago by David Eicher
LUXEMBOURG, LONDON, BERLIN, SILICON VALLEY, BUCHAREST (February 14, 2017) -- The city of Luxembourg today hosted international leaders to launch Asteroid Day 2017. Asteroid Day is a UN sanctioned global day of education to raise awareness about asteroids and in particular how we protect Earth from dangerous impacts.  The press conference was broadcast live from Luxembourg, with the participation of experts in planetary science, business and government joining from Berlin, Bucharest, Silico...
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Book review: Earth in Human Hands by David Grinspoon

Posted 3 months ago by David Eicher
Rarely is a science book profoundly informative, highly entertaining, and surprisingly filled with interesting tidbits as a memoir. Such is the case, however, from the new book Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future, by planetary scientist David Grinspoon.  The new work (522 pp., hardcover, Grand Central Publishing, New York, 2016, $28, ISBN 978–1–4555–8912–8) is one of the best recent reads for astronomy and science enthusiasts.  “We ...
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Join Dave Eicher at Cleveland's Science+Mathematics Think-In

Posted 3 months ago by David Eicher
I’m very excited to be a keynote speaker at the Science+Mathematics Think-In, a professional learning day for Pre-K through 12th Grade educators, hosted by WVIZ/PBS ideastream, in Cleveland, Ohio.  The event will take place March 9, 2017, from 9 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. at the Idea Center at Playhouse Square, 1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, and is hosted by not only WVIZ/PBS ideastream but also the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Great Lakes Science Center, and the Corporatio...
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Alison Klesman joins Astronomy Magazine as Associate Editor

Posted 4 months ago by David Eicher
Please join me in welcoming Alison Klesman, a very talented astronomer, as Astronomy’s new associate editor. You will be seeing a great deal of Alison’s work in the coming weeks and months within the magazine, on the website, and in some videos and other media to come. All of us at Astronomy are very proud to have her on board.  Alison earned her bachelor’s degree in physics and master’s degree in earth, atmospheric, and planetary science from MIT. During this tim...
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Lowell Observatory: David Eicher comments on the importance of astronomy in younger generations

Posted 4 months ago by David Eicher
Join Editor Dave Eicher to explore why astronomy is important for younger generations . . . “Astronomy is the only science in which the amateurs, us enthusiasts, have the same laboratory, the same sky, as professional astronomers.” Thanks to Lowell Observatory for producing this video.  ...
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Check out this Emission Spectra of the Elements poster!

Posted 4 months ago by David Eicher
Do you want a new and really unique gift for that lovable science nerd in the family?  Check out this really cool Emission Spectra of the Elements poster. Tom Field, who operates Field Tested Systems, produces spectrometers, filters, and classroom products that allow amateurs and students to study spectroscopy.  The poster is quite cool, showing the emission spectra for all the elements in the periodic table. Thanks, Tom, for sending one. And may you achieve great success spreading...
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Auction of Alan Stern's "second fastest vehicle" will support Lowell Observatory

Posted 4 months ago by David Eicher
PRESS RELEASE: DECEMBER 13, 2016   ***Contact details appear below*** ***Text and images https://lowell.edu/category/news/***    AUCTION OF ALAN STERN’S “SECOND FASTEST VEHICLE” WILL SUPPORT LOWELL OBSERVATORY Flagstaff, AZ. – The historic Nissan 350Z that Dr. Alan Stern drove while leading the New Horizons mission to Pluto will be auctioned this month. The sale will benefit Lowell Observatory, the place where Pluto was discovered, with proceeds go...
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Book review: Nancy Atkinson’s Incredible Stories from Space

Posted 4 months ago by David Eicher
Lots of astronomical books are rolling out this year just in time for holiday shopping. One of the most pleasant is Nancy Atkinson’s Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos (224 pp., paper, Page Street Press, Salem, Massachusetts, 2016, $20; ISBN 978–1–62414–317–5).  This highly entertaining book presents a sweeping narrative journey through many recent space missions, from New Horizons and Plut...
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Lowell Observatory: Dave Eicher comments on why astronomical research matters

Posted 4 months ago by David Eicher
Editor of Astronomy Magazine, Dave Eicher, explains why astronomy research is important: "We can learn a lot about who we are, and why we're here from looking outward and not just looking inward on our daily lives on the planet.” ...
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United Nations proclaims June 30 International Asteroid Day

Posted 4 months ago by David Eicher
PRESS RELEASE: UNITED NATIONS PROCLAIMS JUNE 30 AS INTERNATIONAL ASTEROID DAY NEW YORK, NEW YORK (December 07, 2016) -- The founders of Asteroid Day announced today that the United Nations General Assembly has officially recognized the annual event, declaring “30 June International Asteroid Day to observe each year at the international level the anniversary of the Tunguska impact over Siberia, Russia, on 30 June 1908 and to raise public awareness about the asteroid impact hazard.&rdquo...
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Astronomy editor Dave Eicher on Wisconsin Public Radio today

Posted 4 months ago by David Eicher
This afternoon Dave Eicher will be a guest on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Central Time” show to discuss Stephen Hawking’s recent prediction that humanity will have to move on from Earth within 1,000 years. The discussion will treat a range of threats on Earth and from the universe at large to the long-term survival of human civilization.  You can listen, live, to the program here: http://www.wpr.org/programs/central-time The segment will begin today, Tuesday, ...
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Three legendary moonwalkers to land in Norway and share their stories, together, for the first time at Starmus IV

Posted 4 months ago by David Eicher
PRESS RELEASE: Buzz Aldrin, Charlie Duke & Harrison Schmitt will unite for the first time in front of an audience of thousands in Norway’s scientific capital, Trondheim, as part of Starmus IV festival. They will take part in a thrilling hour-long debate, titled “To The Moon And Beyond.” The three moonwalkers will explore their incredible landings decades later and will share their different views on future missions to Mars. “It has been my privilege to have attend...
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The New Cosmos by David Eicher chosen as a Cambridge book of the year

Posted 4 months ago by David Eicher
Cambridge, England: David Eicher’s book The New Cosmos: Answering Astronomy’s Big Questions has been chosen by Cambridge University Press as one of its “Books of the Year,” an accolade that honors 14 books published by the Press in 2016.  Eicher’s book (279 pp., hardcover, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2016, $30; ISBN 978–1–107–06885–8) has been a popular title this year for readers of science. It covers 16 major topics that h...
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Guest Blog: Introducing the StarDisc

Posted 5 months ago by David Eicher
This blog was written by Judith Irons, a StarDisc trustee in Central England with a love for art and science. Judith says her wonderful Grandad showed her the beauty of the stars and she has since found she's been happiest underneath the night sky. Through her quest for sharing art and the beauty of the Universe, Judith found StarDisc through a chance meeting with the creator, Aidan Shingler, and knew instantly it was a special place. StarDisc is a 21st century stone circle and celestial amph...
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Starmus IV to celebrate outstanding contributions of women to science

Posted 5 months ago by David Eicher
PRESS RELEASE: STARMUS IV WILL CELEBRATE OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTIONS FROM WOMEN TO THE WORLD OF SCIENCE Women have not always received the recognition they deserve in the world of science. The balance is being readdressed and we are witnessing an increasing presence of women in science and their important accomplishments are being drawn to light, but there is still a long way to go.  The founder of Starmus, Garik Israelian, is proud to announce an incredibly strong list of influential w...

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